Worm Gear Zine has officially relaunched, with 19 reviews and new interviews with Agalloch and Forefather! We know it has been a long time, but we are excited to have revived this stalwart bastion of extreme music. Expect more frequent updates and more of the quality writing you’ve always depended upon. We welcome all readers to this resurrected endeavor, and are eager to hear your thoughts and to get your participation in our ongoing discussion of the underground. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter as well!
From our original review of Worm Gear zine back in 1998:
Professional layout belies the depth to which this magazine sinks into the underground, asking up-front questions in a variety of reviews, features and interviews. Excellent coverage on an individual basis of those bands and individuals lucky enough to be featured in this solid zine from Michigan.
Sabrewulf make doomy music in the new interzone of hybrid between post-punk, metal and drone. These boxy riffs are aggressive and forthright, and hammer home a brainworm of a rhythm and then lapse into drone, as if subjugating the listener with a vision that cannot quite be realized in the present dimension.
Because the essence of post-hardcore is to swallow up all other genres, this is visible like a skeleton poking through the decaying flesh of a fallen beast. Despite the guitar tone which is straight out of 1980s Autopsy, the essence of this music is very slow minor key punk riffs that set up a sustained tone and let it fill available space, then manipulate its sonic dimensions to create a sense of absence.
Song structures are of the circular with layers type that came to us first from electronic music, but now is popular in that it lets the style do the talking — the medium is the message — which is popular in that it allows musicians to craft impressions into three-dimensional structures. Like any good doom band, Sabrewulf know when to ride a melody and create a gratifying sense of inertia like the last swings of a no-contest fistfight.
While many are skeptical of the new styles, and with good reason since almost none of the new bands have the staying power of the 1990s underground metal, it is wisest to see this as heavy-metal flavored punk that also pretends it is post-hardcore, but really just wants to ride a drone into a rant and come out the other side with the world on fire. Even if it does it as a glacial pace.
In the intersection between harsh industrial noise and blasting war metal/grindcore, Intolitarian carves a place for itself by being unique in its absolute inferno of abrasive sound. These two tracks contain rasping vocals over abrasive waves of noise that sound like a high-tuned bass played through a storm of distortion, spaced out with loudspeaker spoken word designed to evoke a futuristic totalitarian feeling.
The Orwellian nature of this music takes the listener away from the now with a dramatic surge toward the extreme. Drumming resembles some of the more adventurous drum and bass from the late 1980s, riding a wave of gated grinding power electronic noise while the incessant vocals enunciate like a martial arts competition over the top. It is like a news report from hell, or from a future time when all pretense of humanity and morality has been cast aside.
As an intensely reductive medium, this type of grinding industrial noise has almost no musical elements: it is pure rhythm, pure spoken word, and pure texture, but no harmony or melody. The spoken word portions are produced to sound like either 1940s radio or the off-world propaganda spaceships from Blade Runner, giving it an apocalyptic military urgency. Every syllable throbs with violence.
If war metal were to go in this direction, it would get closer to its own ideal. All meaning is destroyed except conflict and propaganda. This isn’t music; it’s mental conditioning, from that moment during the midnight air raid when the world is shaking with explosions and the ranting of state propaganda from a nearby loudspeaker is the only comforting sound. It encourages survival, to push onward, and a confrontation with nothingness.
You’re on the one metal site that has identified the roots of metal imagery, content and outlook: Romanticism, or the artistic movement which swept the West in response to the Enlightenment and consequent industrial revolution.
Some 240 works from more than 70 artists comprise the show, encompassing some 150 years of fascination with mysticism and the supernatural. The paintings, sculptures, photographs and films were created by prominent artists such as Francisco de Goya, William Blake, Caspar David Friedrich, Johann Heinrich Fuseli, Edvard Munch, René Magritte, Hans Bellmer, Salvador Dalí, and Max Ernst. While some come from the Städel’s own halls, others are on loan from internationally recognized collections like the Musée d’Orsay and Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Museo del Prado in Madrid and the Art Institute of Chicago.
The exhibition categorizes the works both chronologically and geographically with an aim toward linking various interpretations of Romanticism, the post-Enlightenment movement that began sweeping across Europe by the end of the 18th century and continued its influence long after.- Der Spiegel
In literature, Romanticism includes Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft and E.A. Poe, from the later years of Romanticism.
In its earlier years, it includes Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, John Keats, John Milton and William Blake.
All of these feature prominently in metal lyrics, as do horror movies derived from those Gothic Romantic works.
What we’ve been saying for some time: music is communication. It reflects data in the world.
Contrary to the prevailing theories that music and language are cognitively separate or that music is a byproduct of language, theorists at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) advocate that music underlies the ability to acquire language.
The authors define music as “creative play with sound.” They said the term “music” implies an attention to the acoustic features of sound irrespective of any referential function. As adults, people focus primarily on the meaning of speech. But babies begin by hearing language as “an intentional and often repetitive vocal performance,” Brandt said. “They listen to it not only for its emotional content but also for its rhythmic and phonemic patterns and consistencies. The meaning of words comes later.”
Brandt and his co-authors challenge the prevailing view that music cognition matures more slowly than language cognition and is more difficult. “We show that music and language develop along similar time lines,” he said. – Rice University
Therion are busy making final preparations to celebrate their 25th year anniversary of the band and to release the new album “Les Fleurs du Mal” (Preorder: $18) during the tour. The tour is going to include 26 cities.
(Stockholm, September 2012) – Up to this moment, none of the songs have been made public. From Friday September 28th on, Therion is going to introduce it for the first time to their fans during their “Flowers Of Evil” 25th year anniversary concert tour.
The album “Les Fleurs du Mal” is a part of an art project that Christofer Johnsson has been thinking about for some years.
“The time was never right for it, but in celebration of the band’s 25th year anniversary, I thought now will finally be the right time for it,” Christofer Johnsson explains.
There are still many details that are unknown about this mystical art project, and so far only the album title “Les Fleurs du Mal” of Therion’s upcoming release can be officially announced.
The album title refers to Charles Baudelaire’s (French author and poet 1821 – 1867) famous poem collection “Flowers of Evil” (“Les Fleurs du Mal” in French) that caused such an upset of emotions in France that the author was brought to court and got fined for “insulting the public” with six of the poems, that remained forbidden in France until 1949 when the ban was finally lifted. The spirit of the project is a tribute to Baudelaire, and is imbued into both music and artwork. The album was recorded at Adulruna studio, located in a separate building next to Johnsson’s decadent “Villa Adulruna” where the band lived together while recording.
Christofer states that this art project: “Was being too controversial for Therion’s label, Nuclear Blast Records, by the final results, so I asked if it was possible to buy back the master tapes of the record and release it on my own label. And after some negotiations, my wish was granted.”
“But Therion of course is still signed to Nuclear Blast Records for future releases,” Christofer clarifies.
By having full control of the release now, Christofer has decided to do everything his own way, and starts by releasing the album to the loyal fans first that come to the concerts in Europe during Therion’s 25th Anniversary “Flowers of Evil” tour.
The album will of course also be officially released and distributed at a later stage to everyone who is not able to attend any of the shows, and will also be available through licenses to the territories outside of Europe.
Christofer explain that “This is the beginning of a new period that will last for a number of years, where the band will focus on doing certain projects performed by Therion rather than releasing regular albums. In the planning after the art project is a rock opera that is scheduled to take several years to complete.”
Now during Therion’s “Flowers of Evil” and the band’s 25th anniversary tour the audience can expect a classy performance which combines all the elements which have been the key to Therion’s success throughout the years.
Below is the schedule of the upcoming Therion tour dates.
Therion – “Flowers of Evil” – Tour 2012
Date Country City -Venue
28.09.2012, Holland Eindhoven – Effenaar
29.09.2012, Holland Groningen -Oosterpoort
30.09.2012, Belgium Antwerp – TRIX
01.10.2012, France Paris – Bataclan
02.10.2012, France Rennes – Antipode
04.10.2012, Spain Madrid – Heineken
05.10.2012, Spain Barcelona – Razzmatazz 2
06.10.2012, Spain Bilbao – Rock Star
07.10.2012, France Toulouse – Bikini
09.10.2012, France Lyon – Transbordeur
10.10.2012, Switzerland Pratteln – Z7
11.10.2012, Italy Trezzo d Adda – Live Club
12.10.2012, Germany Glauchau – Alte Spinnerei
13.10.2012, Czech Republic Zlin – Masters of Rock Cafe
14.10.2012, Czech Republic Prague – DK Vltavska
15.10.2012, Poland Krakow – Club Studio
16.10.2012, Poland Warsaw – Stodola
17.10.2012, Hungary Budapest – Club 202
19.10.2012, Romania Bucharest – Arenele Romane Tent
The CD has 15 tracks, but the edition sold at the concerts will have a bonus track and you will get a small poster with it. My aim is to sign and personally dedicate every single one of them at the shows.
The CD itself is fully financed by me. Nuclear Blast thought it was a bit too spectacular and we have totally different visions about how we should work on such a project. I’ve had a fantastic relationship with that wonderful label over the years. I’ve had total artistic freedom and much patience from them in a way that most other artists at our level only could dream of at many labels. So rather than having disagreements and make compromises, I suggested I release it by myself instead and they generously gave me their blessings for it. So our relation has never been better than now.
Financing a full Therion audio production mixing at ToyTown with the fantastic Stefan Glaumann, paying for orchestra and the Band members and many, many other things isn’t cheap. To be more precise, it cost 75.000 euro. On top of that I also carried costs for video clips, photo session and the costs for creating the art and stuff for the CD. I don’t have that kind of cash lying around in a drawer at home, so I had to go to the Bank and take a loan. I have always bragged about how I never compromise and am ready to risk everything with each release. It’s easier to say that when you have a record label being a bank for you. This time I had to put my money where my mouth is. So if you buy the CD, you don’t just buy a record with music, you buy a share of an idea, the idea and concept of art where the artist really risks everything to be able to bring out what he wants. Some of you will like the CD, some maybe not. But if you feel that I’ve done something worth raising a toast to over the years, there will be no better way of showing your appreciation than buying this CD. It will be sold at 15 euros and I hope the majority of those going to the shows will walk home with it after the shows.
I’ve been called risky and more crazy than usual with my ideas for this art project, by some of those very few who have been initiated into the mysteries of it. Even within the Band there has been quite some strong feelings about it. And clearly the record label didn’t think they had a smash hit in their hands. This pretty much reminds me about the feeling when Theli was recorded. I recall the record label saying: “Do you really think we can sell this? What will your fans say?”. But they didn’t have much other choice than releasing it and hope for the best. They had just invested more money in the sound production than with any other Band in the history of the label – on a Band that didn’t sell many records. But there were people at the label who really liked it too and carefully believed in it. Like the boss Marcus Steiger. But in the Band the atmosphere was really bad. The bass player Lars hated it to the core. “Fucking opera shit!!”. The guitarist Jonas didn’t like it either, it was “too much classical stuff and opera, should have been just some small elements of it as a spice”. Drummer Piotr kind of liked it, but thought it as kind of odd and didn’t have too much hope for it (just like myself, who thought it would flop too). But it turned out to be the album that made Therion a big band.
This time at least half of the Band thinks it’s great stuff and believe in it. But now I’m risking my own money and not the record labels. When I took the decision of borrowing money and release it myself, I was officially declared out of order in the head by some people familiar with the matter. Well, we will see about that. When a fan buy a CD directly from a band it counts as if they bought 10 CD’s at the store released via a record label. With loyal fans buying many CD’s at the concerts, a big part of the production costs will be recovered.
Dutch storming melodic black hateful metal band Sammath have released the tracklist of their forthcoming album on Folter Records, Godless Arrogance.
The album will be out in Feburary/March 2013 and the tracklist will be:
1. Shot in mass
2. Fear upon them
3. Thrive in arrogance
4. Death (hunt them down)
5. This world must burn (hammer of supremacy)
6. Through filth and the remains of man
7. Nineteen corpses hang in the mist
Grand Island, NE — Hunter Spanjer is deaf, and uses a sign language symbol for his name that some school administrators say resembles a handgun.
More accurately, it’s the Hessian “devil horns” symbol, which teachers have been trying to ban since the early 1980s. Hessian activist Seamus Israel in Omaha offered the following analysis: “Teachers ban first, then look for a reason why they were right. Now they’re using fear of violence to discriminate against Hessians.”
Hessians, or metalheads, heshers, threshers, bangers and headbangers, is a term used to refer to those who are not only fans of heavy metal music but incorporate its values, imagery and outlook into their personal lives. “It’s a culture like any other,” said Israel. “Just because you weren’t born into it but found it later doesn’t make it any less legitimate than being French, Inuit, Maori, Jewish or a Wall Street economist.”
During the 1980s, American teachers banned symbols and behaviors they saw as associated with “Satanism” and sent students home. These included wearing all black, wearing Slayer t-shirts, wearing symbols like the ankh or yin-yang, displaying the “horns” symbol and reading H.P. Lovecraft at lunch when they should have been playing basketball or watching TV.
Used by Hessians worldwide, the “devil horns” symbol is formed by extending the forefinger and pinkie while tucking the other fingers and thumb into the palm of the hand. It is considered the sacred symbol of Hessian unity and allegiance to the ancient powers of darkness that existed before Christianity, humanism, democracy, reality TV and dubstep, said Hessian Reverend Vijay Prozak. “The devil horn symbol is our most sacred rite, similar to ritual dances or meditative breathing in other cultures.”
Protests continued at the campus on Wednesday. “This deaf child is paying the price for decades of American anti-Hessian bigotry,” said Israel. “In the rush to demonize the horns, and heavy metal music, teachers are now discriminating against deaf kids so that they can find ways to ban heavy metal from the campus.”
For the last decade, the United States military has used loud rock music to torment captives from the war on terror. Isolated in dark cells, the captives are subjected to blastingly loud music on repeat for days at a time.
The international human rights agencies have been unanimous in their declaration that this is not torture until. Amnesty International spokesperson Bob Cratchit revealed that recent media sampling has provided a reason to declare this torture and end it.
The U.S. military has found the music handy at times. According to Mother Jones magazine, a song from Deicide’s album “Scars of the Crucifix” was played during interrogation of detainees in Iraq. The band said it was proud to do its part for the war effort. – AP
According to Amnesty International research, Deicide ended as a musical force after Once Upon the Cross and their remaining output is “so dishearteningly disorganized, aimless and without artistic merit as to create suicidal impulses in the listener.”
In fact, Cratchit added, “This music is so bad that most of our test subjects would only consent to listen to it when the only other option was Nickelback. Several test groups chose Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ on repeat over the later Deicide.”
Amnesty International acknowledges that early Deicide, from the self-titled album to the epic and devasting Legion, is ranked among the treasures of humanity. “Even Once Upon the Cross is an amazing album, although nothing like Legion.”
The US Fifth District Court held the injunction hearings and sampled the music in question. “The justices could tell right away,” said bailiff E.L. Saunders. “Old Deicide was distinctive and artistic, but the new stuff is a morass of confusion, like tormented souls locked in Wal-mart for eternity.”
The lawsuit by Amnesty International and three dozen other human rights and civil rights organizations allege that later Deicide, especially repeated, is a musical transgression that amounts to human rights abuse. Their lawsuit is pending before the courts at this time.